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Thread: Has Mike Trout peaked?

  1. #1

    Has Mike Trout peaked?

    It's time for the old columnist staple: Random thoughts!

    1. Mike Trout turned 21 years old in August, so the common axiom about young players as applied to Trout: He'll get better. But is that even possible? His 10.7 WAR was one of just 20 such seasons by a position player since 1950. If he repeats this season 10 more times he'd be over 100 career WAR -- a valuation just 19 position players have achieved. Now, unless he's the second coming of Willie Mays, Trout isn't going to be a 10-WAR player every season. His baserunning and fielding ability may have already crested, but is there room for development as a hitter? I think it's possible. He has a walk rate of 10.5 percent -- while above the AL average of 8.0 percent -- could improve, boosting his on-base percentages over .400, even if he's more .300 hitter than .330. Of course, maybe he is more Mays than Rickey Henderson. Mays had a .384 career OBP and walk rate of 11.7 percent that didn't grow much from a 10.9 percent rate as a rookie.

    What about power? Trout wasn't projected as more of 20-homer guy coming up, so the 30 home runs was a big surprise, especially in a tough home run park. According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, eight of Trout's 30 home runs were "just enough" -- a figure that wasn't near the league-leading figures of Miguel Cabrera (16) and Adrian Beltre (15). Trout's home run percentage on fly balls was 21.6 percent, which ranked 15th in the majors among those hitters with 300 plate appearances. Remember, as fast as is he, Trout isn't a small guy, at 6-1 and over 200 pounds. He's bigger than Mays or Hank Aaron. I believe the power is legit; that doesn't mean he's going to turn into a 40- or 45-homer guy. Eddie Mathews hit 47 as a 21-year-old and that was his career high. A friend of mine who plays in a simulation league owns Trout and was offered Bryce Harper for him. He asked my thoughts, wondering if it's possible Trout will never do this again. I suppose that's possible, but answered: He doesn't have to get better. He's already the best all-around player in the game.
    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/po...e-trout-peaked

  2. #2
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    He may turn out to be a great player, but whether he does or not, 2012 will be his best season.

  3. #3
    I say yes. It just doesn't get any better than this season. this is one of the best seasons of the last 50 years.

    I also expect him to struggle a little and have a "sophomore slump". nothing terrible but more likely like a 135 OPS+ with 6.5 WAR. pitchers will have a book on him for the first time and he needs to learn to deal with that. I think eventually he will overcome that and become a perrenial MVP candidate (similar to Arod or so) but I can't imagine him doing that every year. If he repeats 2012 till his mid 70s he will be like the 3rd best player ever and I just don't see that.

    So he will be good but not that good. but we'lll see.
    I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and cant run, most of the time hes clogging up the bases for somebody who can run. Dusty Baker.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    If he repeats 2012 till his mid 70s he will be like the 3rd best player ever and I just don't see that.
    50+ years of 10 WAR performance. That'd be 500 career WAR. I'd suggest he might be the best player ever if he were to do that

  5. #5
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    He's in his decline phase.
    "Tactics were resorted to, unworthy of fair, manly players" - Brooklyn Eagle, June 12,1890

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    He's pretty good, but he's no Ben Zobrist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ipitch View Post
    He's pretty good, but he's no Ben Zobrist.
    Zobrist uber alles!!!

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    Is Trout a flash in the pan? A Walt Dropo with speed and glove?

  9. #9
    1) Trout's offensive WAR was 8.6. 8.6 is around 78th overall and has been beaten or tied around 22 times (some players multiple times) in the last 55 years. It's a very good season of course, but it was beaten but Jeter, Ripken, Yount, Morgan twice, Mays 4 times, Mantle 4 times, Aaron twice, Yaz, Carew, McCovey, Robinson, Snider, Walker, and Piazza.
    2) Every one of the 8 top OPS+ rankings at age 20 (excluding Trout) were beaten by the same player at least once, and often multiple times in their career.
    3) Allen's 1964 rookie season (age 22) was a season, that barring injury, he basically matched twice more in his career in WAR.
    4) Mathews, barring injury beat or matched his age 21 season 4 times (and darn close another 4 times) in WAR.
    5) The top 10 age-20 marks for adjusted runs created include 9 players since 1900: Mantle, Ott, ARod, Cobb, Williams, Kaline, Robinson, Foxx and Trout. Each of them beat that mark multiple times (except Kaline, who would have beaten it barring injury.) And Kaline matched his age 20 WAR at age 26 and would have beaten it at age 32.

    Trout is not physically mature (at age 20), so he will get stronger. It's a given that he will get better as a runner since there is a learning curve there. Will his defense improve? One would expect so.

    Moreover, Trout missed 14% of the season. He has a built in cushion to start with, so he can get 14% worse and still match this season.

    The players who have great seasons at age 20 and 21 are not lucky players that have had their best season. The lists of the best seasons at age 20 and 21 are almost ONLY filled with first round hall of famers.
    Last edited by drstrangelove; 11-22-2012 at 07:17 PM.

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    I can't help but think of Dwight Gooden, who at age 20 not only had the best season of his career by far, but a season even better than Trout's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willshad View Post
    I can't help but think of Dwight Gooden, who at age 20 not only had the best season of his career by far, but a season even better than Trout's.
    Yeah but the Mets ruined his arm from overuse. Then he ruined the rest of him by overuse of something else...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ol' aches and pains View Post
    He's in his decline phase.


    I do have to say, if amazing rookie seasons of the past are anything to go by- I'm thinking Dimaggio, Williams, Ichiro, Fred Lynn- even if they end up having pretty remarkable careers, the rookie season always seems to end up at least close to their best season ever. Trout may have another 2 or 3 comparable seasons (which'll probably be enough to make him a future Hall of Famer if he doesn't break down) but I can't imagine any great improvement. If anything deserts him, I feel like it's most likely to be the power, which seems like a bit of a fluke. Maybe he had his Brady Anderson season first thing?
    Found in a fortune cookie On Thursday, August 18th, 2005: "Hard words break no bones, Kind words butter no parsnips."

    1955 1959 1963 1965 1981 1988

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ol' aches and pains View Post
    He's in his decline phase.
    If we just plug in Barry Bonds' decline rates, Trout will bat .440 with 85 home runs at age 42.

  14. #14
    Consider this, based on WAR, Trout would have had about 5.5 war this year if he had been an AVERAGE major league hitter, a pace that would put him over 80 in 15 years. He would have had about 4 war this year if his hitting had been at the level of an average major league shortstop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    Consider this, based on WAR, Trout would have had about 5.5 war this year if he had been an AVERAGE major league hitter, a pace that would put him over 80 in 15 years. He would have had about 4 war this year if his hitting had been at the level of an average major league shortstop.
    Manny Ramirez, one of the best hitters ever, only had 5.5 WAR twice in his entire career..once barely, at 5.8. I guess hitting really doesn't matter much after all!

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by willshad View Post
    Manny Ramirez, one of the best hitters ever, only had 5.5 WAR twice in his entire career..once barely, at 5.8. I guess hitting really doesn't matter much after all!
    Ramirez loses a chunk for being a poor fielder so its not just Trout being scored so high on defense. Is WAR biased towards fielding or is 100+ year tradition of comparing batting stats biased toward batting value?

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by willshad View Post
    Manny Ramirez, one of the best hitters ever, only had 5.5 WAR twice in his entire career..once barely, at 5.8. I guess hitting really doesn't matter much after all!
    Ramirez played in an era that had 10% more scoring and in a park that was 15% more favorable than Trout. 10% plus 15% = 25%.

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    I could actually see him decline, but still be great, and then "peak again" when he is around 27-28.
    Chop! Chop! Chop!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ipitch View Post
    He's pretty good, but he's no Ben Zobrist.
    Zobrist never had this kind of a season.

  20. #20
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    Trout was hitless today!
    "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

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    Quote Originally Posted by StanTheMan View Post
    Trout was hitless today!
    So was Zobrist... but Michael Young still has lots of intangibles.
    "I can see how he won twenty-five games. What I don't understand is how he lost five." - Yogi Berra on Sandy Koufax's 1963 season.

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    Trout will hit .400 with 40 home runs and 200 runs scored next year

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    That'd be scary if he hasn't yet.
    People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. -Rogers Hornsby

  24. #24
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    I get nervous for these kids if they get brought up too fast. Some look good statistically in the minors, but still have holes in their game and are brought up needing more seasoning - especially when it comes to the 5-tool types. Seeing kids like Felix Pie, Corey Patterson, Rickie Weeks, Delmon Young, etc struggle with strike zones and such but pushed to the majors because of their power/speed combo.

    It's nice to see both Trout and Harper do well out of the gate. Then again, at least Trout was so polished it was almost ridiculous to leave him down in AAA. Some of his fallback later in the season may have been from being tired. IIRC, he had about 50 more PAs than any other time in his pro career in 2012. Being that he still has years to go before he's physically filled out, it'd be no surprise to me if he simply wore down - along with the mental pressures that came with it.

    He likely drops down a bit this year simply because last season isn't easy to replicate. But I think it's only a year or two before he's hitting 3rd in the order in front of Albert and putting up consistent high level seasons. If anything - and this goes for both Trout and Harper - I'd like to see them tone it down in the field and on the basepaths. They'll learn hopefully, that in a marathon such as baseball, self-preservation at times has its benefits. If they keep going at 100% all the time, they're much more likely to break down at an early age.
    "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

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    It's difficult to top that, even for him. In order to top what he did this season, we may be talking about a top 5 all time player by the time his career ends. And still, I like Harper better.
    "I am not too serious about anything. I believe you have to enjoy yourself to get the most out of your ability."-
    George Brett

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